Friday, November 11, 2005

Brain Dump - Ideas from everywhere

Ok, just a bunch of ideas here after starting to read James Paul Gee's book. Gee talks about internal and external grammars and how children start to interact with them in games. While reading this, I got to thinking - this is a means or process for getting kids to focus on, and ultimately enjoy the process. This got me thinking about a post earlier in the week - ADD & NASA - where CyberLearning uses a system that uses physiological inputs from a child while they are playing to help them learn to focus. Putting these two together seems to make sense. There are kids that can get sucked into the process of a learning space automatically and there are others that need a little bit more "prodding" if you will. This "sucking" process is similar (I think) to what Steven Johnson talks about in Everything Bad is Good for You as being one of the elements that help fuel the "Sleeper Curve" - that "just one more thing" bit that gets people sucked in. Games do that well because their internal grammars are put together well - at least in the good ones, the bad ones we never hear about as they just ... well... suck. This in turn got me thinking about a couple of postings by Mr Mackenty a few weeks back (here and here - incidentally where he's also reading the same book). Putting this all together in my head points to one thing - process. What we seem to see in games is that there is a process that is made enjoyable, a suffering that is endured for no reward other than something intrinsic in a world that means nothing more than a "gaming inspired smile delivered by the opiate of self satisfaction". If we want to get going with helping kids succeed in this digital realm where the "answer" may be as fleeting as the process, I think we have to help kids find enjoyment in the process itself. The assessment of process is surely something that has been done before, but it has never been graded to some artificial norm referenced bean countable metric. I know this is nothing new. I'm talking about authentic assessment and assignments. It may be that the answers to much of what we are looking for are already in front of us, we may not have seen them. We know tomorrow is different from today, but we are marking as if it were yesterday and that is what is failing our kids. With all the ideas that are running in my head right now, I'm thinking that if we want to prove the worth of gaming, or steal it's ideas and apply them somewhere else we should look to make assignments where the answer is not the be all and end all because so many things are shifting these days that the question may be wrong before it's even on the page, and if that is the case - what are we thinking if there is only one answer (PS I must apologize for some of this thinking as it was inspired in part by just watching The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). Ok... that helped get some of the pressure off... and if you are still reading this... I apologize for the brain ache. Technorati Tags: , , , ,